No Mistake As Brilliant Battaash Makes It Third Time Lucky

4th at YOR, Gr. Stk, £400,000G1 Coolmore Nunthorpe S. (5f)Winner: Battaash (Ire), g, 5 by Dark Angel (Ire)

Battaash |

Eclipsing even Enable (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}) and Stradivarius (Ire) (Sea the Stars {Ire}), Shadwell's Battaash (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}) destroyed his opponents on Friday in the greatest performance witnessed in the history of York's G1 Coolmore Nunthorpe S. Rolling smoothly from the outset granted an early lead from Soldier's Call (GB) (Showcasing {GB}), the 7-4 second favourite wanted it as early as halfway and Jim Crowley was in no position to deny him as he put the rest in the shade. Drawing on all his inherent prowess to open up in sensational style from there, he went through the barrier to hit the line 3 3/4 lengths to the good over Soldier's Call. Capping a display for the ages, the 5-year-old who had been here and failed in 2017 and 2018 was stopped at 55.90, becoming the first ever to dip under 56 seconds and in the process ending the 29-year dominion of the operation's sprinting legend Dayjur. As a measure of how fast this race was, the 13-8 favourite Ten Sovereigns (Ire) (No Nay Never) was unable to land a blow, with Ballydoyle's best finisher the filly So Perfect (Scat Daddy), a length behind Soldier's Call in third. “He loves York!” Charlie Hills quipped. “All the chat saying he doesn't and he's broken the track record, and that's Dayjur's track record as well. Everything went well today–he was so cool and calm and he's seriously fast.”

While nobody in the racing firmament would have argued that Battaash is the best of his kind that has ever graced Goodwood's festival after three consecutive renewals of the G2 King George S., there was continuing doubt that he would ever produce on this track that in principal is so ideally suited to him. Much has been said of his previous reversals in the last two runnings, but as a relatively lightly-raced 5-year-old who has taken all this time to properly mature it was unfair to downgrade him based on less than two minutes of disappointment. Travelled up from his home on the morning of the race this time, the bay now only has to conquer the G1 King's Stand S. to complete his portfolio at this trip.

Were it not for the stumble of Houtzen (Aus) (I Am Invincible {Aus}) alongside him in the most recent renewal of Royal Ascot's speed test June 18, he may have been better placed to reverse his 2018 defeat by Blue Point (Ire) (Shamardal) but such are the minor margins by which these races are decided it will forever be a matter of conjecture. Versatile regarding ground conditions, he put up one of his finest displays prior to this tour de force when beating Marsha (Ire) (Acclamation {GB}) by four lengths on soft ground in what was amazingly his only prior group 1 success in the 2017 G1 Prix de l'Abbaye.

This ground, which began as officially “good” at the start of racing but was ever-quickening in the ramped-up temperatures, was perfectly set up for a track record attempt but few would have expected Dayjur's gold standard to be under threat. Angus Gold was there in 1990 and he said, “It was fantastic. I'm thrilled for Sheikh Hamdan, who puts a lot into it and it's great he was here to see this. I would never have dared mention him in the same breath as Dayjur, but I suppose I'll have to after today! You never quite know with him, but I simply couldn't understand why a horse wouldn't like York as it's not a quirky track. He was very calm off the box and very good in the preliminaries today and he accepted a lead in the race whereas at Goodwood he was unbelievably fast in the first part of the race. He did it the right way round today and Jim kicked at exactly the right moment. It's nice to see him still going at the end–he was still galloping on at the line.”

Charlie Hills added, “It was a good decision to keep him at home last night. He loves his stable at home and it's nice to keep a routine with him. I was really pleased with the draw and Jim gave him an absolute peach of a ride. He got a lovely tow in there. He's obviously been gelded, so we can come back here again next year. I'd love to go to Ireland [for the Sept. 16 G1 Flying Five at The Curragh] with him in a few weeks and then hopefully go to France [for the G1 Prix de l'Abbaye at ParisLongchamp] and why not the Breeder's Cup, but I'll have to speak to the owner.”

Archie Watson said of Soldier's Call, “I'm delighted–he's got bags of pace, quick ground suits and an easy five. He's bumped into one of the best sprinters of recent times, but he's ran a huge race to be second and I'm delighted with him. There are obviously three more group ones that are suitable for him–there's Ireland, there's the Abbaye–which he was third in as a two-year-old last year–and the Breeders' Cup which is run on a flat five this year. We'll have to think about Ireland, as he disappointed there last time. We'll sit down and have a think about it, but I'd say the two main targets are France and America.”

Battaash is the first foal out of Anna Law (Ire) (Lawman {Fr}), who is a half-sister to four black-type performers headed by this operation's Etlaala (GB) (Selkirk) who captured the G2 Champagne S. and was third in the G1 July Cup. Her other half-sibling Bird Key (GB) (Cadeaux Genereux {GB}) produced another leading sprinter in the blue-and-white in the G2 Duke of York S. winner and G1 Diamond Jubilee S. and G1 QIPCO British Champions Sprint S.-placed Tasleet (GB) (Showcasing {GB}). Anna Law also has Phoenix Thoroughbreds' unraced 2-year-old filly Valletta Gold (Ire) (Gutaifan {Ire}) in training with John Quinn and a yearling full-sister to Battaash.

Friday, York, Britain
COOLMORE NUNTHORPE S.-G1, £400,000, York, 8-23, 2yo/up, 5fT, :55.90 (NTR), g/f.
1–BATTAASH (IRE), 137, g, 5, by Dark Angel (Ire)
1st Dam: Anna Law (Ire), by Lawman (Fr)
2nd Dam: Portelet (GB), by Night Shift
3rd Dam: Noirmant (Ire), by Dominion (GB)
(200,000gns Ylg '15 TAOCT). O-Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum; B-Ballyphilip Stud (IRE); T-C Hills; J-Jim Crowley. £226,840. Lifetime Record: Hwt. Older Horse-Eur at 5-7f, Hwt. 3yo-Fr at 5-7f & G1SW-Fr, 19-10-2-3, $1,793,398. Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus*. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Soldier's Call (GB), 135, c, 3, Showcasing (GB)–Dijarvo (GB), by Iceman (GB). (85,000gns Ylg '17 TAOCT). O-Clipper Logistics; B-Llety Farms (GB); T-Archie Watson. £86,000.
3–So Perfect, 132, f, 3, Scat Daddy–Hopeoverexperience, by Songandaprayer. ($400,000 Ylg '17 KEESEP). O-Derrick Smith, Susan Magnier & Michael Tabor; B-Machmer Hall (KY); T-Aidan O'Brien. £43,040.
Margins: 3 3/4, 1, 1. Odds: 1.75, 20.00, 25.00.
Also Ran: Mabs Cross (GB), Copper Knight (Ire), Ten Sovereigns (Ire), Ornate (GB), El Astronaute (Ire), Rumble Inthejungle (Ire), Fairyland (Ire), Garrus (Ire). Scratched: Intense Romance (Ire). Click for the Racing Post result or the free catalogue-style pedigree. Video, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

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